Is competition between the sticks what Nottingham Forest need this summer, or should they be looking for a new first choice?

As things stand, the Reds appear to be falling between those two stools.

Costel Pantilimon is established as No. 1.

He recorded 15 clean sheets during the 2018-19 campaign.

Only Jack Butland, Darren Randolph and Dean Henderson kept more.

Not a bad claim to keeping the jersey.

Questions, though, have been asked of the big Romanian.

And they have led to transfer talk.

With Pantilimon’s current understudies also doing little to inspire confidence.

Market

(Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Martin O’Neill is scouring the market and has, according to the Nottingham Post, set his sights on Manchester City youngster Arijanet Muric.

He is a highly-rated 20-year-old.

Is he ready for a 46-game slog in the Championship?

Would he merely be another back-up option?

Does Pantilimon need that challenge or should Forest be looking for an upgrade?

Reds legend Kenny Burns has said in the Post: “To me, Pantilimon’s biggest problem last season was a lack of competition.

“Luke Steele did fine, but you never felt he was going to take his place for a long time.

“Jordan Smith had a run in the team a couple of years ago and did okay, but I was never convinced by his kicking.

“He needs to be playing senior football to get better and that’s not going to come at Forest. That means Martin O’Neill is going to have to loan him out again, or sell him.”

So, Smith departs.

Stephen Henderson has already been released.

Steele cannot be relied upon as a long-term solution.

And Pantilimon has as many faults as strengths.

Option

 

Muric would not be an option to address those issues.

Particularly on a short-term loan agreement.

He is not somebody the Reds will be putting their faith in to nail down a spot as the first name on the teamsheet.

Maybe that is a good thing.

Pantilimon was, after all, handed a long-term contract upon arriving at the City Ground on a permanent basis.

Trust and continuity in a key area of the field could be the way forward.

Competition, rather than change.

Time will tell.